Rate survey: Average card APR remains at 15.22 percent

The average APR on new card offers remained at a five-year high for the sixth consecutive week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Most cards left interest rates alone this week. As a result, the average APR on new card offers remained lodged at 15.22 percent. The last time APRs climbed this high was in 2011 when the national average briefly hovered between 15.14 percent and 15.22 percent. This is the first time since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007 that the national average has consistently remained at 15.22 percent.

The sporting goods store Cabela’s increased the APR on the Cabela’s Club Visa by 0.01 percent this week, but the change was too small to affect the national average. Cabela’s customers are now offered a range starting at 15.52 percent and maxing out at 21.52 percent. 

Card issuers could face class-action lawsuit over chip card rollout
One year after the U.S. formally began shifting over to chip-based credit cards, a small group of retailers are suing card networks MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover over the transition process, which retailers say has been unfair to small businesses.  

Since Oct. 1, 2015, retailers that don’t accept chip-based credit cards have been forced to shoulder liability for any in-store fraud committed on chip-based credit cards. Retailers complain they weren’t given enough choices, input or accommodation by the card networks, which created the agreement and laid out a number of rules retailers were forced to follow. Retailers also allege the card networks colluded on an agreement that overwhelmingly favored card companies instead of retailers.  

A federal judge ruled Sept. 30 that the lawsuit could move forward, according to an Oct. 4 news release by the law offices of Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd. The plaintiffs are also seeking class-action status so other retailers can join the suit.

The retail industry has complained heavily over the past year that the chip-and-signature cards used in the United States aren’t as secure as chip-and-PIN cards used in other countries. Retailers have also griped that card issuers have slowed down the transition process by making retailers wait for certification before they can begin accepting chip-based cards.

According to a survey released Sept. 20 by the Strawhecker Group, less than half of U.S. merchants who currently accept debit and credit cards are equipped to handle chip-enabled payments. Just 44 percent of merchants who currently accept cards have the right equipment in place to process EMV payments. Meanwhile, only 29 percent of U.S. merchants currently accept chip-based cards.

According to the Strawhecker Group, the migration toward chip-based payments has been “slower than expected,” in part because so many merchants have had trouble acquiring EMV equipment or because they’re still waiting to get their current equipment certified by the card companies.

“EMV terminal vendor supply and delays in the terminal activation/certification process are the bottlenecks in the migration,” said the Strawhecker Group’s Jared Drieling.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.22% 15.22%
Low interest 11.98%
11.98% 11.96%
Cash back 15.32%
Balance transfer 14.39%
Business 13.12%
Student 13.42%
Airline 15.13%
Reward  15.30%
Instant approval 18.04%
Bad credit 22.86%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing every card category listed above. (Introductory, or teaser, rates are not included in the calculation.)
Source: CreditCards.com
Updated: October 5 , 2016

See related: Retailers fight back over EMV fraud liability shift, 8 FAQs about EMV cards

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Updated: 02-22-2019